February 7th through 11th is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia. The Floyd County Emergency Management Agency joins the Georgia Emergency Management-Homeland Security Agency and the National Weather Service for this annual observance.
Tim Herrington, Floyd EMA Director, asserts that the goal for this week is to ensure that the public knows how to prepare for severe weather that can pose a threat to the community.
Local residents may find a wealth of resources pertaining to severe weather preparedness via the Floyd EMA mobile app, says Herrington. It is available free of charge via the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The Severe Weather Awareness Week focus for Thursday is Lightning Safety. According to the National Weather Service –
Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather deaths in the United States. From 1995 to 2016, lightning caused 30 deaths in Georgia. Most lightning deaths occur in the summer months – usually in the afternoon and evening hours. Also, most deaths occur when people are caught outside during a storm. For those that survive a lightning strike, there can be life-long effects.
Lightning results from the buildup and release of electrical energy between positive and negative charges between the earth and a thunderstorm. A single lightning bolt can be as hot as 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit – hotter even than the surface of the sun. This rapid heating and cooling of the air creates a shock wave which we hear as thunder. Lightning will usually strike the highest object in area. This includes trees, antennas, a boat on a lake, or a person standing in a field.
What should you do to protect yourself?
- When thunder roars, go indoors! If you can hear thunder, you are already at risk. If you are outside, get inside a building or vehicle. Stay indoors until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder. If you cannot find shelter, do not stand under a tree or remain in an open place when lightning is near. Avoid open water, as well as tractors, bicycles, motorcycles, or golf carts. These will not provide protection, and may actually attract lightning.
- Enclosed vehicles are generally safe, if you avoid contact with metal surfaces.
- If you are in a forest, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
- If you are outside, and feel your hair stand on end, this indicates lightning is about to strike. Drop to your knees and roll forward to the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees and tuck your head down. Do not lie flat on the ground.
- If you are boating or swimming, get to land as quickly as possible.
- If you are inside, don’t use a telephone or other electrical equipment unless in an emergency.
- Do not take a bath or shower during a thunderstorm.